Readings in English History Drawn from the Original Sources: Intended to Illustrate a Short History of England

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Annual Register, 1761, p. 47. World History

369.

The Character and Services of Pitt

Without presuming to take part in a controversy which (however unequally) divided the royal council, or without entering into the sentiments of any faction, which we have always shunned, we may affirm with truth and impartiality that no man was ever better fitted than Mr. Pitt to be the minister in a great and powerful nation, or better qualified to carry that power and greatness to their utmost limits There was in all his designs a magnitude, and even a vastness, which was not easily comprehended by every mind, and which nothing but success could have made to appear reasonable. . . .

Pitt’s popular support

His power, as it was not acquired, so neither was it exercised, in an ordinary manner. With very little parliamentary and with less court influence, he swayed both at court and in parliament with an authority unknown before to the best supported ministers. He was called to the ministry by the voice of the people; and what is more rare, he held it with that approbation; and under him, for the first time, administration and popularity were seen united. Under him Great Britain carried on the most important war in which she ever was engaged, alone and unassisted, with greater splendour and with more success than she had ever enjoyed at the head of the most powerful alliances. Alone, this island seemed to balance the rest of Europe.

His energy

In the conduct of the war he never suffered the enemy to breathe, but overwhelmed them with reiterated blows, and kept up the alarm in every quarter. If one of his expeditions was not so well calculated or so successfully executed, amends were made by another, and by a third. The spirit of the nation once roused was not suffered for a moment to subside; and the French, dazzled as it were by the multitude and celerity of his enterprises, seemed to have lost all power of resistance. In short, he revived the military genius of our people; he supported our allies; he extended our trade; he raised our reputation; he augmented our dominions; and, on his departure from administration, left the nation in no other danger than that which ever must attend exorbitant power, and the temptation which may be to the invidious exertion of it.

His inability to act with other men

Happy it had been for him, for his sovereign and his country, if a temper less austere and a disposition more practicable, more compliant and conciliating, had been joined to his other great virtues. The want of these qualities disabled him from acting any otherwise than alone: it prevented our enjoying the joint fruit of the wisdom of many able men, who might mutually have tempered and mutually forwarded each other; and finally, which was not the meanest loss, it deprived us of his own immediate services.

Those who censured his political conduct the most severely could raise but few exceptions to it; none of them singly, and perhaps the whole united, of no great weight against a person long engaged in so great a scene of action. . . . The conduct of Mr. Pitt when the parliament met, in which he made his own justification, without impeaching the conduct of any of his colleagues or taking one measure that might seem to arise from disgust or opposition, has set a seal upon his character.

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Chicago: "The Character and Services of Pitt," Readings in English History Drawn from the Original Sources: Intended to Illustrate a Short History of England in Readings in English History Drawn from the Original Sources: Intended to Illustrate a Short History of England, ed. Edward Potts Cheyney (1861-1947) (Boston: Ginn, 1935, 1922), 608–609. Original Sources, accessed August 9, 2022, http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=491LDUP6VIPZMB9.

MLA: . "The Character and Services of Pitt." Readings in English History Drawn from the Original Sources: Intended to Illustrate a Short History of England, in Readings in English History Drawn from the Original Sources: Intended to Illustrate a Short History of England, edited by Edward Potts Cheyney (1861-1947), Boston, Ginn, 1935, 1922, pp. 608–609. Original Sources. 9 Aug. 2022. http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=491LDUP6VIPZMB9.

Harvard: , 'The Character and Services of Pitt' in Readings in English History Drawn from the Original Sources: Intended to Illustrate a Short History of England. cited in 1922, Readings in English History Drawn from the Original Sources: Intended to Illustrate a Short History of England, ed. , Ginn, 1935, Boston, pp.608–609. Original Sources, retrieved 9 August 2022, from http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=491LDUP6VIPZMB9.